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Workshop: American Fiddling Styles

The Basics of Bluegrass Fiddle

This workshop is a student - centered learning session, so bring your fiddle (if you play) and your questions. I will help aspiring fiddlers with suggestions for technique and strategies for self-improvement.

Some common topics that I cover:

  • techniques to maximize practicing, regardless of ability

  • setting realistic goals for measurable improvement in gratifying steps

  • bowing patterns common in bluegrass fiddle

  • bluegrass instrumentals for learning technique

  • list of important bluegrass fiddlers for study and repertoire

  • web resources

I provide free written materials to all attendees.

I began teaching fiddle in the early 1970's. My students have included adults learning a new instrument, youngsters competing in local, state and national fiddle championships, working fiddlers looking to improve their technique and skills, and intermediate fiddlers wanting to increase their repertoire and abilities. I teach every fall at the Suzuki Association of Northern California’s Violin/ Fiddle Camp, where my classes draw amazed stares from parents when, like the pied piper, I lead a column of young fiddlers marching through the redwoods, sawing a tune they've just learned.

Joe leads Suzuki fiddlers the last day of camp

Joe Weed is a fiddler, recording artist, writer, and producer. He has released six albums of his own. His music productions have been used by Ken Burns, PBS, NPR, the Martin Guitar Company, and at Arlington National Cemetery. Joe has composed music for film scores at The Lincoln Museum, the National Steinbeck Center, and many others. He has written fiddle tunes that are played at contra dances, festivals, and jam sessions across the country.